No Knead Focaccia

Focaccia, specially when fresh from the oven, is one of my favorite things to eat! The topping can be as simple as rosemary and smoked sea salt, or elaborate with za’atar seasoning, olive oil, tomatoes, mint leaves, and cucumbers! 😋

I also tried focaccia with salty, dry cured olives and sun dried tomatoes on it. And to make my son happy – ones with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and lots of pepperoni!

Feel free to top it anyway you like! That’s the fun part of making your own food!

My usual sourdough focaccia (https://athomewiththeresa.com/2021/06/09/sourdough-focaccia/) takes about 8 1/2 hours from start to finish if you used an active sourdough starter, but a bit longer if it is made with a dormant starter. I usually follow the timeline I typed up, preparing it after breakfast and baking either before or after dinnertime.

I got a few requests for an easier, faster recipe. And I totally get it! There is never enough hours in a day! So after a couple of weekends trying to make an easier focaccia recipe without compromising the taste, here we are! It still takes a bit of time, but you need time to allow the dough to develop flavors by slow fermentation.

This recipe makes use of instant yeast and can be done in a little less than 6 hours of mostly hands free time. I use a brand called SAF instant yeast, see photo below.

You’ll just mix everything together until it forms a shaggy dough and set it aside, covered, for about 4 hours. Then, you’ll transfer the dough into a generously greased pan and set it aside for about an hour. After which it’ll be drizzled with more olive oil, dimpled all over, and topped with whatever topping you like. Then it’s going to be baked for 20-25 minutes. Ta-da! Delicious, crisp, and super soft focaccia!

You can also get this ready at night: prepare the dough before dinner, let it sit on the counter while you eat and clean up and let it rest overnight in the fridge. Take out the next day, transfer to an oiled pan, let rise until doubled(about 2 hours or so) and bake. Or reverse it, preparing it in the morning and baking it at dinner time.

Perfect partners! Found this delicious dip at Trader Joe’s.

You likely have all the ingredients needed as this is a very simple recipe: flour, yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, salt and rosemary(or whatever you like) for extra flavor.

I usually make 2 pans at a time to make better use of the oven’s heat. If you like to do that too, just double this recipe and divide the dough into two 13”x9” pans. Bake times and temperature remain the same.

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Ingredients for dough:

1 2/3 cups water

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1-2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping:

Extra Olive oil

sea salt

rosemary

Whatever else you like(pickled jalapeño and cheddar, mozzarella and pepperoni, olives, etc)

Procedure:

1. In a large bowl (specially if you’re doubling the recipe), mix together the water, yeast, and sugar.

2. Add the olive oil and give it a stir.

3. Pour in the flour and salt. I use a Danish whisk to mix everything together until you have a rough dough. As long as there is no dry patches of flour, you’re good. *Remember, we do not need to knead this dough!

4. Cover the bowl and set aside for about 4 hours. I use a clean shower cap to cover the bowl – it’s reusable unlike a sheet of plastic wrap. The dough should double in size in this time.

5. In the meantime, grease a 13”x9” pan with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Smear it all over the bottom and sides of the pan.

6. Pull the dough in from the sides of the bowl using a spatula and transfer into the prepared pan. Touch the greased pan with your finger tips to pick up some oil, and gently stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan.

7. Cover the pan and let dough rise 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.

8. Preheat the oven to 450F about 20 minutes before second proofing is over.

9. Uncover the dough and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Using your fingertips, poke the dough multiple times, touching the bottom of the pan each time. The oil will pool into the little grooves you created.

10. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and smoked sea salt. This is my favorite topping. Feel free to use what you have or what you like!

11. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.

Perfectly crisp bottom!!!

12. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Enjoy warm!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (the Elon Musk one)

Finally, I was able to write this article. I hope you all will like it!

Tesla. Elon Musk. Bitcoin…..Chocolate Chip Cookies???

A few weeks ago, while on one of my rare break times at work, I came across this article about a Chocolate Chip Cookie that allegedly made Elon Musk go back for seconds. Wait, what? Did I read that right?

So of course, I read the whole article. The baker’s boyfriend works at Space X, and his desk is near Elon Musk’s office. So when the cookies were seen, he asked the bodyguard to get some. And then more.

I just wanted to go home and try the recipe she shared after I was done reading the article. But of course, I had to finish work before leaving.

So, a few hours later, I was able to prepare it. Lucky for me, ingredients for chocolate chip cookies are always in my pantry. 😊

I doubled the recipe so that I could share, and made it in the Thermomix so that it came together really fast.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks

1. Place the butter in a bowl. You can use a stand mixer or a hand held one. I used the Thermomix to make life easier.

2. Add the brown sugar,

3. And the white sugar. Mix together over low speed for 3 minutes.

4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the vanilla extract,

6. And the egg (eggs in the photo as I doubled the recipe).

7. Mix for about 15 seconds, low speed.

8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

9. Stir in the flour,

10. Baking soda,

11. And salt into the butter mixture.

12. Mix on low speed for 10-15 seconds, until just combined.

13. See the texture on the photo above.

14. Add in the chocolate chips, (love Trader Joe’s chocolate chips!)

15. And stir until incorporated.

16. Transfer dough into a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

17. Next day, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Preheat oven to 350F.

18. Drop 2 tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets.

19. Leave 2 inches of space between the dough balls as these spread out a bit.

*You can also scoop the dough, place it on the sheets, touching is fine, and freeze them. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and bake as needed. See above photo.*

20. Bake in the oven for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are golden, but the middle is still soft.

21. Slide the parchment or silicone mats directly onto the counter and cool for a few minutes. When set, about 5 minutes, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy cookies while they’re warm and gooey!

Trader Joe’s Thai Style Yellow Curry Sauce

I love the convenience of bottled simmer sauces that are becoming available at the grocery stores. They are truly life savers for when you come home late from work and need something on the dinner table real quick. The trick is finding out which ones you like, which means trying out a few brands.

I’ve always been lucky with almost anything I get at Trader Joe’s. They’re reasonably priced and always delicious, but sometimes you get hooked but you can never get it again. I had some favorite cheeses and sauces that was not available anymore when I came back for more. Sad.

So if I see something I want to try, I usually buy a couple to start with. They do have expiration dates so I cannot really get a dozen or so as we will get tired of it if I cook it too often. 😊

So…this is my most recent find!

I’ll cook this with some cut up chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and a couple of bell peppers from the garden.

You can definitely eyeball the amounts and adjust anything to your taste.

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Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. I used the following:

1-2 tablespoons oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 pound of chicken breast, cubed

1 big potato, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into half moons

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce

Water

Freshly cooked rice and chopped cilantro, for serving

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Sauté garlic and onions until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Next add the potatoes and carrots. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and bell pepper.

4. Pour the curry sauce over. Fill the bottle halfway with water, cover and shake to get every last bit of the delicious sauce, open the bottle then pour contents into the pan.

5. Stir the mixture and cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium low and simmer until chicken and vegetables are done, around 10-20 minutes.

6. Serve over freshly cooked, hot rice. Top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!